Healthy in Ramadhan Fasting by rheyvana


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									                                     Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

                     Health Aspects of Fasting in Ramadan.
                               Stay Healthy during Ramadan.

                                         Dr. Syed H. Akhtar
                                              Austin, Texas

         The spiritual uplift, self-control and many other similar benefits of Fasting in Ramadan
         are well recognized. This article deals exclusively with the physical health aspects of

         Overview. A working knowledge of nutrition, common health issues, and healthy
         eating habits with a touch of commonsense can go a long way to make your Ramadan
         Fasting free of adverse health effects and an enjoyable experience. The suggestions
         given here are only rough guidelines. Consult your doctor if you have a medical
         condition before you make a decision to observe Fasting in Ramadan. Explain to your
         doctor, (if he is not familiar with Islamic Fasting) the details of Ramadan’s spiritual
         significance so he can make an informed decision and make appropriate
         recommendations. If you are not satisfied, a second opinion (optional) with a Muslim
         physician of the same specialty may help.

General Recommendations:

           Maintain calorie intake to roughly what you take when not fasting. Ramadan is not for
           losing weight, unless you are overweight and want to lose weight. Maintain the same
           level of activities (calorie expenditure) as when you were not fasting.

           Eat slow burning foods, esp. at Suhur time. Complex carbohydrates are slow burning
           foods; e.g. Wheat, bran, oat, beans, lentils, whole wheat flour, etc. Haleem is a good
           healthy slow burning meal!

           Eat high fiber foods, like whole wheat, oats, beans, lentils, vegetables (green beans,
           peas, spinach, and beetroot), fruits like figs, prunes, etc.

           Eat balanced meal, e.g. Vegetables, fruit, meat (chicken, beef, and fish), bread, cereal,
           dairy products.

           Drink plenty of water and fluids. (Water is preferable)

Do not
            Do not eat fast burning foods. Refined carbohydrates are fast burning foods, e.g. White
           flour bread, refined sugar, etc.

           Do not eat fried and fatty foods. These cause heartburn and weight gain.
Do not (continued)
          Do not over-eat, especially at Suhur time.

          Tea: Do not drink excessive amount of tea, especially at Suhur time. It contains
          theophylline, which is a mild diuretic (causes urination) and may exacerbate fasting
          related dehydration, and may contribute to salt and electrolyte deprivation. (Coffee does
          not contain theophylline.) It is not healthy to drink tea for breaking the Fast.

   Special Considerations:

   Diabetes.      Non-insulin requiring diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is also called adult onset
   diabetes. If it is diet controlled or requires oral medication, then fasting may be done with
   precaution, after consulting your doctor. It may require reducing the dose of diabetic
   medication, and strict adherence to anti-diabetic diet, including eating complex carbohydrates
   (Slow burning foods.) If you require insulin shots, then it may be too risky to observe Fasting.

   Constipation. Causes: Dehydration may exacerbate constipation, leading to piles or anal
   fissure, which is very painful cracking lesion in anal area. Remedies: Drink plenty of water and
   fluids, high fiber containing foods & vegetables. Using a stool softener pill (over the counter),
   psyllium (metamucil, etc.) powder, prune juice, etc. as a preventive measure might be helpful.

   Indigestion, Bloating. Causes: Overeating, fried and fatty foods, eggs, cabbage, carbonated
   drinks, like colas. Remedies. Avoid the above foods.

   Lethargy, Feeling weak & Lightheaded. Causes: Insufficient fluid and salt intake, or
   excessive fluid and electrolyte loss. Remedies: Increase water and fluid intake. Avoid excessive
   sweating and keep cool.

   Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar.            May cause feeling of weakness, especially in the
   afternoon. Remedies: Eat Suhur. Eat slow digesting foods (complex carbohydrates.) Avoid fast
   burning refined foods (white flour breads, refined sugar containing foods)

   Headache, nervousness, irritability. Causes: This may be due to caffeine or nicotine
   withdrawal in those people who are dependent on these substances. Remedies: One to two
   weeks prior to starting the Fasts, gradually reduce the intake of tea, coffee, and cigarettes.
   Several carbonated drinks have added caffeine. Read the label and know what you are drinking!

   Muscle Cramps. Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
   Remedies: Eat foods rich in minerals, like vegetables, fruits, dairy products, dates, meat

   Peptic Ulcer, Hiatal hernia, Gastritis, High Blood pressure, Kidney Stones. Consult
   your doctor if you intend to Fast in Ramadan, if you suffer from any of these.

                                (Have a happy and Blessed Ramadan.)

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